Start Date at Barber Financial Group: October 1996
Favorite Aspect of Working at Barber Financial Group: The reward of helping people is my favorite thing, whether it’s employees or clients.
When watching Usain Bolt compete in a 100-meter dash, it’s best not to blink because you could miss most of his race. The same thing can be said about watching Dean Barber check things off his daily to-do list.
While saying Barber has Usain Bolt-like speed might be a bit of a stretch, keeping up with Dean in whatever he’s doing has never been easy.
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Off to the Races
“My mom used to joke that I wake up first thing in the morning and never slowed down until it was time for bed,” Barber said. “I was always the first of my siblings who was awake and that’s how I’ve always been. It drives my wife, kids, and a lot of employees crazy.”
Barber gets out of the blocks … err, his bed, when his alarm goes off at 4:40 a.m. each day. Then, it’s off to the races to better himself, his family, and his clients.
“I jump out of bed, splash water on my face, brush my teeth, put on my gym clothes, and am at the gym by 5:15 to do a very difficult CrossFit workout. I do that five to seven days a week,” Dean said. “I then come home and read about all the news that happened overnight or important things that might be coming up that day as I’m getting ready. I’ll also go through all my emails and get everything that needs to be responded to that I didn’t get the night before.”
Dean is usually in the office by about 7:30 a.m., so he can be there before most other employees and finish anything else that needs his immediate attention. Once he completes those tasks, the rest of his day is predominantly accounted for with client and team meetings, co-hosting his radio show, America’s Wealth Management Show, with Bud Kasper, hosting his podcast, The Guided Retirement Show™, and constantly thinks about how he can provide the best financial education to Barber Financial Group’s clients.
“I think into the future every day and visualize ideas,” Barber said. “I sometimes start talking about those ideas because I can see them clearly to myself, but someone might not understand why I’m going over those ideas with them at that time. They don’t understand that we must do a lot of planning first to get to where we want to be.”
Hitting His Stride
Dean’s first day at Waddell & Reed was one of the most memorable days in the history of the stock market—October 19, 1987: Black Monday. He had no choice but to hit his stride or he was going to be left in the dust.
“I called my manager that day and said, ‘Hey, I’m licensed,’” Barber said. “He says, ‘I don’t have time to talk right now. The market’s crashing.’ I go, ‘I know; I see it. What do I do?’ He tells me, ‘Just pick up the phone and start calling people.’ I’m like, ‘Who?’ He asks me, ‘Don’t you know anybody?’ I tell him, ‘No. I’ve literally been in Kansas City for six months.’ He goes, ‘You’ll figure it out,’ and hung up.”
Passing the Baton: From Waddell & Reed to Barber Financial Group
Barber indeed figured it out, but the visionary in him wasn’t satisfied with how he was going about business after nine years at Waddell & Reed. It was of the utmost importance to Dean that the clients’ interests always come first. Dean realized that the best way to do that was to start his own firm, but he knew that it wouldn’t be that simple.
“I had three kids and one on the way. When I told my wife, Kim, that I thought I could start my own firm and build something that was better than where I was, she thought I was crazy,” Barber said. “She said, ‘Don’t do it. You’re making good money where you’re at. You’re making me nervous.’ I really thought there was a better way, though.”
While Kim was concerned about Dean’s plans and how they would impact them and their children, family and finances were actually huge motivating factors in his decision. Dean witnessed his grandfather going through retirement with concerns about running out of money, and he wanted to do something about it. By founding Barber Financial Group, Dean has proudly provided essential financial education to pre-retirees and retirees so they can have clarity and confidence throughout retirement.
Dean made it official by founding Barber Financial Group in October 1996. He started with himself and one assistant. Kim also helped him from time to time, and then he hired another assistant. It was in the early 2000s when the firm started to experience significant growth.
“We had a lot of happy clients, and they referred more clients. I got to a point in 2003, 2004, where I needed to hire additional help,” Dean said. “I hired three guys that are now partners, Bruce Godke, Eric Sheerin, and my brother, Shane Barber, within a six-month period.”
The Guided Retirement System™: Executing Your Race Strategy Throughout Retirement
It is Barber’s goal with every client to help them live their one best financial life. He and his team created The Guided Retirement System™, which is a comprehensive financial planning process that begins roughly a decade prior to the client’s desired retirement date and goes through the entirety of their retirement. Barber Financial Group’s integrated wealth management services include investment, tax, estate planning, and risk management.
Even with Dean going at top speed day in and day out, he’s the first to admit that he can’t do everything himself. Dean knows that Barber Financial Group is at its best when everyone is bringing their unique skillset to the table. His team of CFP® Professionals, CPAs, estate attorneys, and insurance specialists works together to help clients reach their financial goals.
“With being a visionary and thinking 10-plus years into the future, sometimes you miss the things that are right in front of you,” Dean said. “That is why I have people in the organization that can slow me down just a little bit and say, ‘Hey, let’s think about what we’ve got to do tomorrow. It’s cool we want to be here in 10 years, but we still need to take care of tomorrow.’”
The Race Starts and Ends with Family
Dean’s team at Barber Financial Group aren’t the only people who make sure that he paces himself each day. Kim and Dean’s five children have supported him throughout his career, and he hasn’t lost sight of that. When Dean isn’t in the office or the gym, there’s a good chance that you will find him spending time with his family.
“As hard as it was to build a business, there was far more stress on raising kids. I felt like my job there was to make sure that my kids would grow up and become a healthy, productive part of society,” Barber said. “I decided when my kids were in grade school that I needed to spend more time with them when they weren’t in school. So, I took off every single day that they were off, whether it was spring break or whatever holiday they were out of school and spent that with them.”
The fall of 2021 was an extremely exciting time for Dean and his family. His oldest daughter. Lindsay, gave birth to Dean and Kim’s first grandchild, Piper Lou, in November.
“She announced her pregnancy when we had the entire family in Mexico. We said if it was a boy, the next family trip will be in Costa Rica,” Dean said. “If it was a girl, the next family trip will be in Hawaii. So, we’re going to go to Hawaii. My middle daughter will actually be living in Hawaii at the time, so that’ll be pretty cool.”
Barber’s Belief: You Can Always Do Better
As Dean adapts to being a first-time grandfather, he’s been reflecting on how he can be a great influence not only Piper Lou, but Kim, his children, extended family, friends, colleagues, and clients. Barber is committed to doing his best every day. He’s thankful to have a strong supporting cast to remind him that it’s OK to have bad days as long as he learns from them.
“One thing that is important for me to understand as the CEO is that mistakes are going to be made,” Barber said. “Those mistakes should always be looked at as a learning curve. I can’t go back and change mistakes I made yesterday, but I can learn from it, move forward, and get better. If I missed a lift today or didn’t hit a new PR or whatever, so what? I’m going to come back tomorrow and try it again. I do the same thing in my personal life with my business life.”
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